Les desleaulx ont la saison 3v · Johannes Ockeghem
Appearance in the group of related chansonniers:
Editions: Ockeghem 1992 p. 72 (Dijon); Goldberg 1992 p. 431 (Dijon).
Text: Rondeau quatrain, full text in Dijon and Laborde (with a different tierce); also in Berlin 78.B.17 f. 79, ed.: Löpelmann 1923 p. 112; Paris 1719 ff. 61v and 132-132v (as Laborde); Jardin 1501 f. 114-114v.
Les desleaulx ont la saison
Je ne sçais par quelque achoison (2)
les desleaux ont la saison
Nul ne doit parler sans moison (4)
Les desleaux ont la saison
1) Laborde, line 2: “… nully ne tient conte"
ce me seroit reprouche et honte;
pourtant m’en tais, mais fin de compte
tout va sans rime et sans raison.
The disloyal are in season
I do not known for what reason
the disloyal are in season
No one should talk without measure
The disloyal are in season
To name a prince or noble house,
Evaluation of the sources:
Copied into Dijon by the main scribe without any errors, and into Laborde by a later hand, LabordeC, who was identical to the main scribe of the French musical MS Florence 2794. The copying of this song belongs to his second session of work on the Laborde chansonnier, which also included another song by Ockeghem, no. 95 »Je n’ay dueil que je ne suis morte« (ff. 120v-121) - likewise anonymous in Laborde (his first session resulted in the three songs nos. 82-84).
The LabordeC/Florence scribe used an exemplar which was quite different from the one used by the Dijon scribe: The music differs in rhythm and figuration in the first line (S b. 2.2; T bb. 3-4; C bb. 2.2 and 4.2-5.1) and in several similar places, and he uses much less coloration. The text is more explicit in the tierce. While the Dijon version only takes exception to “talk without measure”, Laborde denounces “to name a prince or noble house” (see above).
Comments on text and music:
An angry song about fickle lovers, in which everything seems to be “without reason”. It is set for an upper voice of exceptional restricted range, keeping within an octave, and two much wider ranging voices. The tenor seems to have a stronger melodic profile than the superius with greater arches and clear presentation of the motives. This seems even more pronounced, because the restricted range of the upper voice is underscored by its persistent movement in thirds, back and forth over the same notes e’-c’, d’-f’ - in a sort of mumbling rage. The extended contratenor demonstratively starts and ends on the fifth and in a passage lies high above the tenor (bb. 6-13), but it also plays an important role in the ironic, patter-like delivery of the second line, “et de bons nessun ...”, augmenting the number of motivic entries to four.
The song’s many old-fashioned traits, the undiminished tempus imperfectum, the high contra, the cadences, and the faulxbordeau-like sound (bb. 11-13), may all be deceptive, a calculated interpretation of the poem’s theme.
PWCH April 2012